WDAY: The News Leader

Published March 18, 2011, 10:30 AM

Spring thaw turns small cracks into unfixable problems

West Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - It's a question many people are faced with as spring comes and the snow clears: What happened to my driveway? If homeowners aren't careful, small cracks in the fall can lead to an unfixable problem in the spring.

It can happen to anybody, even one of WDAY's own.

JAY THOMAS - WDAY-970 Radio Host: “We come home yesterday and we pull in and we noticed this big massive gap in the driveway and we see that the whole slab has slided towards the home.”

What started as a gap about half an inch wide has turned WDAY radio personality Jay Thomas's driveway into a cracked nightmare. Concrete experts say problems like this all start with the soil below the foundation.

TED ENGELSTAD, P.E. - Owner, Midwest Testing Lab Incorporated: “Around here it's mostly clays; clays hold a lot of water to begin with. Water will expand roughly 10-percent just upon freezing.”

Similar to the concept behind potholes, as water goes down the cracks it freezes and expands. Then your driveway has nowhere to go, but up.

Jay Thomas: “You've got to be kidding me; this is something that needs to be fixed now. This isn't something that insurance can fix.”

This huge problem will cost Thomas roughly $6,000 dollars, but experts say it could've been prevented by filling the cracks with an expandable sealant which costs about 50-dollars.

Jay Thomas: “This whole driveway has to be torn out, my front steps have to be taken out. Everything has to be replaced.”

If you notice any problems or have any questions about your driveway, you're advised to call a concrete expert immediately.